We set out to look for the mating pair of leopards that had been seen near the Sand River. With her daughter pretty much independent, the Nkoveni female has been seen mating with the Flat Rock male, and their tracks led towards an area clogged with reeds in Londolozi’s far western sector.
A gorgeous female who is found to the east of camp. Easily recognised by her 2:2 spot pattern she is often to be found in Marula trees.
A dominant male leopard over the majority of the north. He originally took over the 4:4 Male's territory when he died.
Following the trail, we spotted the slightest flicking of an ear in the long grass, but it was unmistakably a leopard. A separate tail flicking on the opposite side of a water channel revealed the presence of the second leopard. For some reason the mating pair had split, and were now lying in the long grass on different sides of a large pool.
When leopards mate they will often do so every 15 minutes or so, for up to 5 days at a time, but for whatever reason, the pair seemed quite lethargic on this particular afternoon. However, recognising the enormous photographic potential of one of the pair possibly leaping over the pool, we sat and waited. And waited. And waited for a full two hours before we saw the Nkoveni female start to yawn; a sign that she was very likely to get moving soon. She yawned three times in quick succession, then stood up and stretched. The light was fading rapidly and the leopards were now in shadow, so we were silently urging the female to hurry up.
We all sat ready, our collective breaths held, fingers on shutter buttons.
And then she leaped:
She soared effortlessly across the pool, landing lightly right next to the much larger male.
The pair mated about three or four times, but suddenly the Nkoveni female stiffened, staring intently towards the Southern bank. From out of the reeds another leopard arrived, and in the lowering light we recognised the Nhlanguleni female, who is territorial in that area. Interestingly enough it was the Flat Rock male who scurried away first, closely followed by the Nkoveni female who was a good couple of kilometres beyond her territorial boundary.
Initially skittish she spent a lot of time in the Sand River, now relaxed she makes up the majority of leopard viewing west of camp.
We didn’t see them again as they disappeared into the thickets, but what we had already seen was well worth the wait.
Great sighting Guy. Definitely on my bucket list.
Guy, You got it for sure!!!! What a great sequence – brilliant that you had the foresight and patience to wait for the perfect moment! Thanks for sharing an amazing sighting.
Consider us envious. We’ve waited several times like this but only successfully a few times. Congratulations!!!
Love your patience! And those photos made it all worthwhile. They are FANTASTIC! A full reflection on the leap, a leopard just hanging in mid air—dream shots!!! Thanks so much for sharing this, Guy!
Guy, wonderful photos
Beautiful images of the Leapin’ Leopard! I was going to say lucky you, but your patient wait meant it was more than luck! Nice job!
It is heartwarming to see the many animals doing so well under the watchful eye of the Londolozi Game Reserve. Keep up the great work you do. So many are thankful for all your efforts
Interesting encounter. From your image I didn’t realize that the mating of two leopards could initially so adversarial!
before mating. Person can see snarls afterwards between lions, but leopards really seem start off negatively although I know not hurtful. Surprising.
Amazing photos, that is really is the dream shot!!!
Beautiful shots. Worthy of some artist doing it in oils on canvas,
Spectacular shots, lucky guests and well done everybody for persevering .
Such an amazing shot of the beautiful beautiful Nkoveni ❤️
Really good blog Guy and I have to say your leaping leopard photos are outstanding! Actually better than Kevin’s, posted mid-May. Don’t tell him that however. Those are the types of images one dreams of, besides mums with cubs. 👏😘📷